America—Shining City on a Hill
[Today’s post is an excerpt from President Ronald Reagan’s farewell speech to America, which many know as his “Shining City on a Hill” speech. The words may surprise you. They sound like they could be written today!*]
“We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs protection.
“So, we’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important—why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant… [We have to remember D-Day.] If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.
“And let me offer lesson number one about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven’t been teaching you what it means to be an American, let ’em know and nail ’em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.
“And that’s about all I have to say tonight, except for one thing. The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the ‘shining city upon a hill.’ The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.
“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.
“And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was 8 years ago. But more than that: After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home… God bless the United States of America.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14; NKJV)
Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:
Pray for America today. Cover everything you can think of. Pray for our nation’s freedom—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise, etc.
Pray that this great nation will not lose its history. We must remember our history and we must remember it accurately – the good and the bad. Pray it would be taught in schools and in our homes and in our churches.
Ask the Lord to strengthen our families. We need to get off the technology and get back to the dinner table.
Intercede with prophetic decrees and declarations for America as you know it can be. Stir up a great faith as you do this.
Decree, “The Gospel will go forth across this nation and to the nations of the earth from our shores!”
Shout, “God, bless America!”
A prayer you can pray:
Father, we know You had a dream in Your heart called America. You imagined a place that was free. You gave our founders a design for a nation where freedom was the hallmark – freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to own our own land, freedom to elect our representatives, and many other things. We strongly desire to maintain our freedom. Today, there are forces out there that would make us subject to demonic ideologies that would eliminate that freedom, eliminate and rewrite our history, and even eliminate You completely from our culture. We are sobered at the thought and we aren’t having it!
Show us how to strengthen our knowledge of our history and teach it properly to our sons and daughters. Let us put aside all the techno gadgets and information coming at us. We need to gather as families around the dinner table again. We need to talk and teach and learn from one another. We need to pull together before we are torn apart.
We decree that America is a Christian nation. America will stay the course and complete all that You created us to accomplish in history. America will remain free and its freedoms will remain guaranteed. America will be a shining light to the nations – shining out hope in Jesus. The Gospel will go forth across this nation and to the nations of the earth from our shores! America will receive the lost, the hurting, and those yearning to be free. Save us, so we can share Your son, Jesus, with the world. God, Bless America! Amen.
America is meant to be a shining city on a hill—a beacon set by the Lord to shine His light across the globe.
*Excerpted from President Reagan’s “Farewell Address to the Nation, January 11, 1989. You can read it in its entirety here.